Photo of Koh Lipe island, Butang Archipelago, Thailand
Countries,  Thailand

A little bit about freediving: let the sea inside

For many thousands of years freediving or diving under the water in a mask served a good service to humanity. It allowed to hunt and procure sea creatures at the bottom, it gave precious pearls. And later it turned into a sport. But most of the modern freedivers do not strive for record depths or delicacy for dinner. They are drawn under the water by the universe and the blooming flowers of space. But let’s start from the beginning.

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In the 15th century the sea countries were growing and having gathered the strength they began to divide the territories. But only with mask and lungs it was impossible to swim to the sunk ships and their valuable cargoes. It's not so easy as with the shell. At that moment special seasuits appeared as a more civilized and safe way to stay under water and freediving gave up its positions in this area.

But our world would have stood still if not the dreamers. And one of them an Italian named Raymond Baher reached a depth of 30 meters relying only on his lungs. Here the race began. Depth indicators increased like the arrow on the speedometer of the accelerating car — 40, 49, 54. But at some point to accelerate even more and go down even lower new methods and techniques were needed. And help came from the east.

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Yoga and freediving seemed to have been created for each other. They are like the Siamese twins separated at birth who have long wandered around the world and finally found each other thanks to the famous freediver Jacques Maioli. He reunited the children. And due to this that he opened completely new depths for mankind having descended to his record of 105 meters.

And then there were whole crowds of freedivers-fanatics ready to test the limits of the human body and the magnitude of the sea complacency. Women and men came up with new ways of falling to even greater misty depths. Observing all this «smart» people from the World Confederation of Underwater Activity in the 1970s simply could not stand it and sent everyone to hell refusing to call all these madness sport and supervise it.

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Of course it did not stop the crazy ones. By that time new stars have already swam to the pedestal — Ferreras and Pepin. They have fallen 130 meters through the thick water. And with the creation of the International Freeadver Association AIDA in 1992 the car began to accelerate to rabid speeds. The depths in the competitions and in the free swim started to go for two hundred meters. Of course freediving sometimes taught its students terrible lessons leaving them in depth or transplanting into a wheelchair after decompression sickness. But who can stopped by that.

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And at some point I also decided to get acquainted with this unusual comrade. From the very childhood I was not able to get out from water. I could spend all day long hanging out on soft waves and diving in search of the most beautiful shell. I liked the calm that you feel under water, this silent and warm vacuum. But gradually this became not enough so I went to Thailand to conquer entirely different depths.

I will omit details about the exercises that we constantly did to open the lungs and diaphragm and morning yoga to open the mind and soul. Exercises in static, in dynamics and of course the long dive sessions themselves at the end of which when entering the surface you was shaking because of being cold. It's so strange as if there's no concept of warmth or cold under the water. They start only on the surface where a bright yellow buoy dangles on small waves.

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And that's why you want to go back. There in the translucent thickness of the green water there is no need to think all but just to move along the rope, falling into the majestic silence of the depths.

You stop at your mark. So quiet. So calm. There is only you one to one with the cosmos swaying around you. No time. There is no top and bottom. There is no you. There is only a world clutching you in its embrace and you soar in its vacuum weightlessness absorbing all of its wisdom.

The instructor told us: 'Relax because even a small thought can take away precious air from your lungs'. And he also said to let in the sea, the softness of its waves and the weight of its depths. And you let it in. Make a measured sip of salty air, leave all the alarms on the surface and immerse yourself in this huge organism being an invisible observer.

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The sea pulsates with millions of its small inhabitants. They are transparent and inexpressibly small but there are so many that they obscure the sun. At a depth of 10 meters the rays become a dull echoes of the blinding surface. The waving border of two worlds is still visible. But it is already unattainable because your gaze is directed into a green, bottomless emptiness. Depth draws to it, it whispers and gently drags your legs into the deadly embrace. And you almost give up until the demanding oxygen body clamps the mind. Every breath on the surface is divine. The air again fills the lungs as the mind again is filled with sounds and thoughts. But they are still diluted by the languid summons of the abyss. And you know that you cannot deny yourself a new date.

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Have a good day, MarrySav!)

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